Newtown Square was the terminus for a 9.2 mile spur line built by the Philadelphia & Delaware County Railroad (later acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad) in 1888 that ran from West Philadelphia through Delaware County. The line ended at a lumber and coal yard on the west side of Newtown Street Road (Rt. 252), across the road from where the T.D. Bank now stands. The Newtown Square Freight station was constructed at that location in 1895 to accommodate customers and their goods to be shipped in to Philadelphia A feed and grain store was run from that same location as well. A corral, located in back of the freight station, held livestock for shipments to and from the farms in the area. Farmers would bring their horses to E.W. Powell, the local veterinarian. After being tended by him they would be shipped out by stock car. A passenger station was built next to the freight station. It housed the post office and telegraph station for many years.
Between 1895 and 1908, as many as thirteen trains a day pulled in and out of the Newtown Square station; the milk train, the mail train, and various freight and passenger trains. The Pennsylvania Hospital had a working farm in Newtown Square, and each morning they shipped fresh milk in to the Hospital at 8th and Pine Streets on the “milk run”. The passenger train made the trip out in the morning and returned to Philadelphia in the afternoon.
The railroad began passenger service in 1895 between West Philadelphia and Newtown Square. There were ten stops. Eight of them were flag stops, along with the Llanerch and Newtown Square stations. However, the passenger service could not compete with the trolley line built on West Chester Pike from Upper Darby out to West Chester, which provided more frequent and convenient passenger service to a wider variety of destinations The freight service continued to run to Newtown Square until 1963. In the later years, it’s main customer was the lumber yard.
By 1995, service had been long discontinued and the lumber yard had burnt down. The freight station sat at the same location, abandoned and unloved, the last vestige of the Newtown Square branch. of the Pennsylvania Railroad freight and passenger line that once rumbled 9.2 miles through the township to Philadelphia. The station was slated for demolition when the Winding Way by-pass road was planned. The Historical Society came to its rescue, raising money and making arrangements to have the freight station picked up and moved on a flatbed truck to its new home on the Drexel Lodge site on West Chester Pike. The freight station has since been lovingly restored, and is the centerpiece of the Newtown Square Railroad Museum, with several engines, a passenger car, and a collection of railroad memorabilia housed in the restored Freight Station.
In 2006, a separate Newtown Square Pennsylvania Railroad Museum Association was formed to manage and operate the Museum. Visit their website at http://www.newtownsquare-railroadmuseum.org/ to learn more and plan a visit.